Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The 5 People Who Watch Preseason Football

As a proper son full of filial piety, I called* my parents last night, and was greeted by "Oh hi, son, we're just watching the football game..." 

I briefly thought that my parents -- who had watched a few World Cup games on purpose -- had lurched into soccer fandom so hard that they were even calling it "football." But then I realized that they were watching the Hall of Fame Game, which is the kickoff of the NFL preseason non-season.

And God help me, after we were done talking, I went upstairs and turned on the Hall of Fame Game.

Let's review why you might be watching NFL pre-football.

YOU ARE: an NBC executive
YOU ARE WATCHING PRESEASON NFL FOOTBALL BECAUSE: You want to make sure that the promos and sneak-peeks and trailer-length commercials spoil enough information about your new fall series that there's no chance that a football-loving dudebro will miss a single episode of quirky rom-com "A to Z."

YOU ARE: a teenage boy
YOU ARE WATCHING PRESEASON NFL FOOTBALL BECAUSE: Dad put it on to watch while he's trying to write something gripping for his sports blog. You are primarily playing a game on your tablet while texting your girlfriend on your phone while reading A Tale of Two Cities, which is the assigned summer reading and you've definitely gotten at least three chapters of it read so far. But when your girlfriend texts you to ask what you're doing you are "watching some dumbass football game."

YOU ARE: a big fan of <team>
YOU ARE WATCHING PRESEASON NFL FOOTBALL BECAUSE: You gotta find out whether the hot new {draft pick | free agent | Hasselbeck} that the mighty <team> picked up in the off-season is any good. Alternately, this was the only time of year that you could get tickets to <megacorporate naming rights> Field to watch <team> play, so you will enjoy the 1.5 series that the starters spend on the field.

YOU ARE: a fantasy football player
YOU ARE WATCHING PRESEASON NFL FOOTBALL BECAUSE: When it comes to the 15th round of your 18-round draft, you need to know whether that journeyman tight end from Ball State has the chops to join your team and end up part of a nine-player, three-team trade in November to keep The Manning Faces from winning his fourth-straight title.

YOU ARE: a sports blogger
YOU ARE WATCHING PRESEASON NFL FOOTBALL BECAUSE: When there's nothing on the TV, there's nothing keeping you from thinking about the inevitability of death.

To sum up, the NFL pre-football non-season is like high fructose corn syrup. It's empty calories that will, in the end, help no one, but in our continuing pursuit of football-like sensations, we consume it while imagining it to be something it's not. 

Listen, it's OK to watch a couple more weeks of The Voice, or read a book. We won't tell anybody. And the NFL isn't gonna let you forget when the real season starts anyway.

* Prompted by a text from Dad** saying CALL US UP TO TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW ROOF.***
** Rather than call me, Dad texts me to call him. But I digress.
*** Summary of roof report:  Unlike its predecessor, it is waterproof.
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